An accident or mishap in a truck can cause serious injuries or worse to you and other motorists. Learn three ways truckers can improve safety on the road.
1. Inspect the Truck Thoroughly
Take 10 to 15 minutes to conduct pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stipulates what parts and accessories to look at. You’ll need to check components including but not limited to:
- Service brakes
- Trailer brake connections
- The parking brake
- The horn
- Lighting devices and reflectors
- Wheels and rims
- Emergency equipment
Your trucking company might require you to submit a more thorough Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). Keep accurate electronic or paper reports to meet the standards of federal laws and your company.
2. Drive Defensively
Another way to improve safety on the road is to drive defensively. You can’t control the environment or other drivers, but you can anticipate dangers and use safe driving strategies to minimize problems.
Be aware of your blind spots and look over your shoulder and out the window when changing lanes. When merging, leave plenty of room around the truck, and always use your signal lights when turning or switching lanes as well.
Put a three-second buffer between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. Drive slower in bad weather or poor visibility. On icy roads, increase your follow time to about 10 seconds.
3. Prepare for Emergencies
Conditions can change on the road, especially when driving long distances. Keep water, snacks, a first aid kit, a change of clothes, and blankets in case you need to pull over to the side of the road for an extended period.
When you need to step out of the vehicle, high-visibility clothes alert motorists to your presence. One surprising thing many don’t know about hi-vis PPE is that the bright fluorescent fabric glows in daylight but doesn’t protect you in low-light conditions. The silvery, retroreflective tape improves visibility when a bright light, such as a headlight, lands on the material in the darkness. Use cones or reflective triangles to create a safe zone at the rear of your truck, and wear hi-vis clothes for roadside safety.